Social Scientist. v 2, no. 16 (Nov 1973) p. 65.


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Independence of the Judiciary

THE question of independence of the judiciary has assumed importance with the supersession of the three judges of the Supreme Court and their consequent resignation.

It is ironic that the Government of India and its spokesmen should now indulge in a ^pate of speeches that the judiciary must subserve the philosophy of the socialistic pattern of society. Previously criticism used to be levelled at the Marxists that they denigrated the judiciary, that in socialist countries the judiciary is required to toe the line of the ruling party. But now those very iniquities which used to be alleged against the Marxists are being mouthed by the supporters of the present government. But what is the content of the independence of the judiciary ? What Marx has to sav about it is:

The judge has no other superior except the law. But the judge is obliged to interpret the law when applying it to a particular case in the way he comprehends it upon conscientious consideration.1

That is to say, a judge is independent in so far as he does not act on instructions from, or under dictation by, the administration but he is not independent of law which he must apply according to its true intent and not according as he feels it should be nor shall he apply it to oblige the administration or any person. '

The dialectical combination of independence as well as dependence on law is the Marxist conception of the independence of the judiciary.

In Article 112 of the 1936 Soviet Constitution (otherwise known as the Stalin Constitution), this conception finds embodiment in the formulation. "Judges are independent and subject only to the law." A little more explicitly, but expressing the same idea, is Article 9$ (1) of the Constitution of the German Democratic Republic which reads:

The judges.. are independent in their administration of justice. They are bound only by the Constitution, laws and statutory regulations of the German Democratic Republic.

Marxists, however, do not believe in the theory of justice being blindfolded which the theorists of the camp of the richer classes have sedulously preached. Justice, in the theoretical sense, is neither blindfol-



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